Characterization and verification of ACAM slit functions for trace-gas retrievals during the 2011 DISCOVER-AQ flight campaign
Abstract. The Airborne Compact Atmospheric Mapper (ACAM), an ultraviolet/visible/near-infrared spectrometer, has been flown on board the NASA UC-12 aircraft during the Deriving Information on Surface Conditions from Column and Vertically Resolved Observations Relevant to Air Quality (DISCOVER-AQ) campaigns to provide remote sensing observations of tropospheric and boundary-layer pollutants from its radiance measurements. To assure the trace-gas retrieval from ACAM measurements we perform detailed characterization and verification of ACAM slit functions. The wavelengths and slit functions of ACAM measurements are characterized for the air-quality channel (~304–500 nm) through cross-correlation with a high-resolution solar irradiance reference spectrum after necessarily accounting for atmospheric gas absorption and the ring effect in the calibration process. The derived slit functions, assuming a hybrid combination of asymmetric Gaussian and top-hat slit functions, agree very well with the laboratory-measured slit functions. Comparisons of trace-gas retrievals between using derived and measured slit functions demonstrate that the cross-correlation technique can be reliably used to characterize slit functions for trace-gas retrievals.